Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

Adrenaline Rush Strategy – A Gift For Sit N Go Players?

My first poker session after a fantastic xmas break was a quick one – at the new Adrenaline Rush tables on Full Tilt. This is a short-stacked Rush Poker variation, which is more or less push-fold. I could not help wondering whether this pre-flop style of play might be suited to players who have a lot of Sit N Go bubble experience – particularly from the hyper-turbos.

Here is a quick overview of how the game works. After this my thoughts on how ‘solveable’ this game might be, math-wise. I have also compared the potential for mistakes in Adrenaline Rush to Hyper-Turbo SNGs, after all this is where our profits will come from. Finally a note on notes, the killer app of the Rush / Zoom world!

Adrenaline Rush – How It Works

adrenaline rush at full tilt pokerThis game is a pooled player system just like Zoom Poker. You get recombined at random with other players for each hand, and can fold out of turn.

Tables are 4-max, NL Holdem only at the moment and range from 2c / 5c blinds through to $1 / $2.

You buy-in short, with 10BBs the max and 5 the minimum.

The betting is Cap-Limit, which means 10BBs is the maximum a player can bet on any one round. You can bet less than 10BBs, but you can‘t call a bet – your choice is raise or fold before the flop, with no betting at all post-flop.

Most players went all-in with anything they wanted to play, though there were some ‘serial min-raisers’ who were taking advantage of the fact that you would have to commit to 10x the BB to play back (not much room for folding after someone has raised).

I tried to spot the players who were going all-in with mid-strength hands and mini-raising their premiums – only spotted one so far, though I believe this will be a common ploy by less experienced players (and one that will be exploitable).

Adrenaline Rush – My Initial Thoughts On Strategy

With such a small stacks and 4-players folding is not an option, you’ll get eaten by the blinds. Post-flop play does not exist, so the key is to work out push / call ranges for your opponents and base your play on those.

A HUD will be gold for this (see my poker tools page for info on how to get Holdem Manager 2 free from Red Kings (it is part of your deposit bonus)). This should give you a range of hands each opponent is open shoving with and some idea of their 3-betting over a min-raise range. Note: I am not aware that this game is supported in HM2 yet, usually only takes a couple of weeks though.

It will be harder to work out what they are calling shoves with using a HUD alone, you’ll need to figure some default ranges for different player types and fine tune from there. At the lowest level this was any pair, any ace, J10o+ and higher suited cards like J8s+ / K9s and that kind of thing. My initial thought is that people are calling too tight (not done the math yet), since there is a wide range of trash being shoved BVB and from the button.

Worth Buying In Short?

Probably better to start with the 10BB max stack. You’ll start in the big blind so 5BBs is a little too short. At a full-ring table it would be the shorter the better, 4-max feels to me like you’ll have to get in behind too fast to avoid being blinded away.

With just a tiny overlay from the blinds, once you work out the ranges it is just simple math: Will I profit over time with hand x against range y? Anyone who does their ‘homework’ should be +ev from the get-go… though the variance will be pretty brutal along the way.

Adrenaline Rush Strategy – Potential For Mistakes

Mistakes made by your opponents are where your profit comes from.

It follows that a game which has the potential for a lot of mistakes can be very profitable for those who know how to exploit them. Deep-stacked play with post-flop action fits this description great… yet Adrenaline Rush is the opposite of that… So, will there be enough mistakes to make this game profitable?

  • Players who do not study ranges will be leaking from the get-go. Their losses will be small, a couple of % here and there, but inevitably they will lose money.
  • Wild players who are shove happy or call too wide will spew their chips around plenty.
  • Tight players will lose even more, the blinds come around too fast to fold much.
  • Predictable players (min-raise premiums, shove mid-strength) will be very exploitable.

Chip Ev vs Prize Pool Equity

adrenaline rush poker strategy tipsMy initial though is that Chip Ev gives players less chance to make mistakes than the prize pool equity situations in Sit N Goes. A ‘bad’ call in a $10 pot due to mis-assigning an opponent’s BVB shove range might cost a 40c. In a Hyper-Turbo SNG that same call will spew equity to the players not in the hand… and could be considerably more expensive over time. (see my Into To ICM for more on this concept).

Once you have the math down, it feels like Adrenaline Rush will be a proper ‘grind’, exploiting tiny edges over and over again – rather than the bigger mistakes that novices make at the bubble of SNGs.

Adrenaline Rush – Notes Are The Killer App

Just like with Rush Poker, I believe that taking notes on your opponents will be the real route to big profits with Adrenaline Rush. This works in 2 ways:

  • You can fine tune your reads on ranges from each position at the table and anything odd like constant mini-raising or shoving every button.
  • Many of your opponents will not realize someone has notes and will be playing their mechanical strategy. Once you know what they are doing via building notes, you can work out how to beat them by going back to the ranges / hand matchup math.

The beauty is that you will be able to build up edges against multiple opponents while they will never realize what is happening. You can avoid this happening to you by switching up your play now and again – though not so much that you give up your hard-earned edges.


This is just my initial thoughts after a single session. Hopefully it has provided some food for thought and strategy ideas to pursue.

If you have not yet discovered the big changes at Full Tilt since PokerStars took them over, then head on over to – you will be pleasantly surprised!

GL at the tables, Mark

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